On 29th October a German court ordered the release of army officer Franco A for lack of evidence. The man was held in detention since April this year. His alleged crime? That’s a bit of a story. I’m not sure if I get all details together, but believe me, you will not care at some point.
While he served in Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr, Franco A claimed asylum to steal money from the welfare payments originally set up for refugees/immigrants that came with the migration wave in 2015. The swindle was prominently featured in the media and gained a lot of attention by conservatives. It was just too good not to be true for an opposition claiming that Merkel was utterly over-challenged with the situation. Franco A is not only white, he also does not speak Arabic. How on earth could he be granted asylum status and handed out welfare benefits?
Once the media story had the attention of the public, Franco A turned out to be a ‘right-wing extremist’, whatever that means. His master thesis at the French military university Saint-Cyr was said to have triggered an investigation of Germany’s military intelligence service MAD (Militärischer Abwehrdienst) – so right-wing it was.
We also learnt that his neo-Nazi views were an open secret in the French town of Illkirch where he served in a Franco-German unit. Investigators from the Bundeswehr have found “indications of right-wing and racist ideas” in his room. In addition to a swastika carved on an assault rifle, they discovered pictures “glorifying” the Wehrmacht.
Franco A bought a gun, a historic pistol from the Nazi era. This is more evidence that he is in all the nasty wrongthink imaginable. The newspapers assured us that he is not alone. Nazis are many and may never be understated. The talk was of a ‘network’ of right-wing extremists in the Bundeswehr.
With two accomplices, who were part of this ‘network’, Franco A planned to topple the government with a killing spree. This is the point where most English-speakers get a little suspicious. But we are talking about Germans here. So the three men were in to topple the government – with the old pistol. But one of them, a 24-year-old soldier, also organised and stashed shells and handguns. Had I believed the media, I think, I would have worried about the unavailability of military equipment for the soldiers. The Bundeswehr has quite a reputation for not having a good reputation.
Why would somebody claim asylum if he wants to topple the government with an old pistol? Answer: To be somehow found out, but still be seen as a Syrian and to stoke a race war – Charles Manson style. This danger to the government (German: Staatgefährdung – more often used as adjective: staatsgefährdend) must be taken very seriously, of course, say the media.
The details of the plot are a bit mysterious. Somehow Merkel’s life was not directly targeted because this particular coup d’etat came with a hit list. Franco A wanted to shoot as an asylum seeker an array of left-wing activists and fringe politicians.
In the wake of the media story, the Department of Defence under Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a trained medical doctor and former Family Affairs Minister, expressed suspicion that the entire army is infested with right-wing extremists. The military bases were soon purged of all artefacts that remotely reminded leftists of the Wehrmacht (the name of the German army under Hitler).
Officially investigators are still collecting evidence against Franco and his friends. I am not all too worried about them. My guess is that they do not exist at all. I put my little tin-foil yarmulke on and say that Franco A is a media ghost, born in the aftermath of the foiled military coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016 to saw mistrust among our soldiers. The elites have become nervous after Brexit, Trump and the failed rebellion against Erdogan.
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